TORONTO â€” In the wake of its best-ever season, Toronto FC unveiled its new Wall of Honour at BMO Field on Thursday.
The MLS franchise is using the north wall of the East stand, located next to the box office at Gate 1, to celebrate the franchise’s “iconic moments” and MLS honours.
It replaces the previous Wall of Honour, which disappeared some time ago. That celebrated first captain/player Jim Brennan and first goal-scorer Danny Dichio on a strip of wall just underneath the press box in the West Stand.
“With our 10-year anniversary (the 2016 season), it was really important to recognize that this club has had a history and there’s been some good players that have come through here,” said team president Bill Manning. “We’re hoping the next decade can be even better … So it’s cool. This is something we hope to add to. And hopefully it’s here for the next 50 years.”
The iconic moments section honours:
â€” The 1976 Soccer Bowl champion Toronto Metros-Croatia.
â€” TFC’s first ever goal scored by Danny Dichio on May 12, 2007.
â€” Maurice Edu, the 2007 MLS rookie of the year.
â€” Sebastian Giovinco, 2015 MLS MVP.
â€” The 2016 MLS Eastern Conference championship.
Surprisingly it does not include TFC’s Amway Canadian Championship wins (2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’16) although that tournament has its own trophy case at the team’s training ground. The five Canadian championships are also emblazoned on the walls of both the first team lounge and the gym.
“For now, we’ve decided to keep the Wall of Honour focused on MLS moments and accomplishments, with the one exception being the Metros-Croatia championship,” said a club spokesman.
The MLS Honours section recognizes all-stars Ronnie O’Brien (2007), Brennan (2008), Dwayne De Rosario (2009, ’10), Jermain Defoe (2014), Michael Bradley (2014, ’15), Jozy Altidore (2015) and Giovinco (2015, ’16).
De Rosario (2010, ’11) and Giovinco (2015, ’16) are also honoured for being part of the league’s Best XI teams.
Manning said unlike the previous wall, the new one won’t contain a hall of fame element.
“There is a Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame,” he said. “Hopefully these guys will get into that one. This is more about a recognition of what we call iconic moments and hopefully there’s many more than what’s up the wall there. And then guys who have earned achievement or distinction from the league.”
Brennan was inducted into Canada’s Soccer Hall of Fame & Museum as a player in 2015 and, in 2014, as a member of the 2000 Gold Cup champion team.
The new wall drew immediate response â€” good and bad â€” from TFC fans, with some wondering about including O’Brien, who made just 13 appearances for Toronto. Defoe also remains a lightning rod for fans, with some still upset the England striker left the club early to return home after just one season with the Reds.
Others wondered what the Metros-Croatia team had to do with the MLS club.
Toronto, which lost to Seattle in the MLS Cup final last season, opens the 2017 campaign Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press